Miles South

The Miles Home

Miles South
Words by Rosalind Fournier Photos by Chris Luker

When Bryan and Shannon Miles first visited Alys Beach in the summer of 2008, they fell in love with the promise the growing town held. 

“At the time, Alys Beach was really in its infancy,” Bryan says. “We would ride bikes around this blank canvas of a neighborhood and dream, wouldn’t it be wonderful if one day we could build here?” The family has particular memories of the playground near the original location of Fonville Press where their three-year-old daughter— later joined by a baby brother—often played. 

Their dream came to fruition in 2017, when they learned that Alys Beach was reconfiguring the playground and made the northern half available for a homesite. “It held a lot of memories for us from when the kids were younger, and we thought, ‘We can’t believe this lot is available.’” They decided to seize the opportunity. 

If the Miles were moved in part by the serendipity of the moment, they were methodical in their approach to building the home. They both thought it was important to select their architect, contractor, and interior-design firm all at once, setting in motion a true collaborative effort among all the parties involved. They thoughtfully selected Truth & Co. Interior Design, Domin Bock Architects, and Hufham Farris Construction. “We felt like they would be able to execute our vision while adding their own unique perspectives from knowing the community like they do,” Shannon says. “We also felt they could work well with one another, and that proved to be the case.” 

Ron Domin of Domin Bock, who worked with colleague Denise LeBlanc-Bock on the Miles’ home design, credits the couple with putting together a team that continues to collaborate on new projects to this day. “The Miles residence is a testament to what a team can accomplish when working together in total harmony,” he says. “The designers at Truth & Co., the team at Hufham Farris, and I all worked side by side with Bryan and Shannon to create a home that looks and feels like it’s been on the beach for many, many years.” 

Daniel Farris, speaking for Hufham Farris Construction, calls the Miles’ house a “great project and a great team, top to bottom. From a builder’s perspective, the team and the experience of the build is what we’re there for. Everyone bought into the vision, so that made the process of the build a lot more efficient, a lot more enjoyable, and ultimately led to a high-quality finished project.” 

The result is a home defined by the Miles’ sense of style, life experiences, love of comfortable hospitality, and appreciation for distinctive details.

Ron says it began with the spacious windows, a mainstay of beach living that unites the inside with the out. “Design wise, you couldn’t have gotten another window in this house,” he says, noting that the glass walls in the living room fold open to the courtyard for a seamless transition. “It’s really a bright, happy house that welcomes the outdoors in.” 

The sleek, contemporary feeling of a home surrounded with glass serves to highlight the carefully curated architectural and design elements inside. Truth & Co.’s Anisa Darnell says the Miles wanted a home that reflected a sense of place but, even more so, a sense of themselves as a family. 

“The Miles’ love language is family, quality time, and traveling,” Anisa says. “They love exploring the world together, so they definitely wanted a global influence.” They incorporated Moroccan details to echo design themes found throughout Alys Beach, particularly in the light fixtures, handmade in Morocco and chosen as works of art unto themselves. Handmade tiles, including many Zellige tiles, and rich fabrics subtly continue the Moroccan theme throughout. 

“There are moments of Moroccan influence, but it’s not overpowering,” Anisa says, noting that other details, including coffee-table books and even maps, reflect the many places the family has traveled. “It’s more than a retreat—it’s an experience. We wanted it to be comfortable and inspiring, as if you stepped into a place full of stories of their adventures together. These are strategic choices for them to feel, ‘This is our house.’” 

In the architecture, the Miles point to a set of old wooden beams in the living room, reclaimed from an Amish barn in Ohio, as a favorite detail that dovetails with their personal history. “Shannon and I met in Ohio in college close to Amish country,” Bryan says. “Those beams are a reminder of how we have worked together for many years and held up a lot of things. Your eyes are naturally drawn to the beams, and then there’s a really nice story if someone stops to ask.” 

Other woodwork in the home tells a story as well. When Ron was finishing his own home in Alys Beach, he invited the Miles over to see a few of the features. They were struck by the craftsmanship of Russ Briscoe of Keystone Millworks, who was installing floors on the day they visited. “We thought, ‘This is art,’” Shannon remembers. “He is thoughtful with every board. We ultimately contracted with him and installed the same antique oak floors, and that’s another special feature of the house. The loggia, floors, elevator interior, the terrace beams—all the hardwood in the house was part of his artistry.” 

Another favorite spot in the home for Shannon is the haven that the third floor has become. She notes that with its dark gray walls—a departure from the rest of the house—it feels “moody, almost like a speakeasy. It is very warm and relaxing.” 

Meanwhile, the third-floor loggia features an expansive view of nearly all of Alys Beach. “You walk out onto the terrace and you’re transported into an entirely different environment, outside in the bright sun and surrounded by white homes.” 

For Bryan, another treasured space is the main-floor loggia with a barbecue overlooking the pool, a giant TV, and an outdoor shower he describes as “very sleek and very Moroccan. That area for me is very peaceful.” 

With Raw & Juicy now in the space that held Fonville Press originally, Fonville Press Market Café recently reopened as an expanded concept in Town Center, and Fonville Park reimagined as a more intimate and compact play space now adjacent to where the Miles’ home stands, the Miles have completed the circle back to the location that holds such a special, nostalgic connection for their family. 

“We saw this as a legacy for our family,” Bryan says. “To remember our young daughter and son playing in a park that’s now where our home sits—and the idea that we could bring our grandkids here one day in the future—that’s what we had in mind when we built this out. It’s a project that collectively we’re very proud of, but it’s more than that. It has a meaningful connection to our hearts.”